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Posts: 11

Location: Waynesboro, MS

11

Wednesday, November 21st 2012, 1:56pm

You can always build your own, that way you can make it do whatever you like. That's what I did.

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,030

Location: Metro NYC

12

Wednesday, November 21st 2012, 5:50pm

The point I'm trying to make is, modern irrigation controllers need to move away from the dial and buttons which is the source of all users' angst, and start embracing the use of GUI to provide better user experience. It would be like what the iPhone did to the cellular phone industry.
To someone in the trade, you are not making any actual point. We've been there in the golden days of electromechanical controllers that gave a decade or more of uninterrupted service. We've been there in the awkward early days of solid state controllers that had nothing but buttons to press, and tiny LED displays. To a certain degree, the rotary switch and the pushbuttons figure to be a long-term status quo, combining the most programming flexibility with the most ease of consumer use.

What would be informative to the consumer that "wants more" and thinks it can be easily obtained, would be to do what all computer programmers must do, and that is to create a flow chart of the controller programming and operation. Once you have a controller "do more" you have a controller with ever more opportunities to have internal conflicts that need resolving.

Unlike a computer, a controller must be crash-proof.

Try to understand that manufacturers have to make controllers that people will buy in large quantities. The number of people who need a controller cease to water as of November 15 are simply too few to ever care about. They are on their own.

scercpio

Active Member

13

Thursday, November 22nd 2012, 2:40pm

You can always build your own, that way you can make it do whatever you like. That's what I did.
Can you show us how?

scercpio

Active Member

14

Thursday, November 22nd 2012, 2:46pm

The point I'm trying to make is, modern irrigation controllers need to move away from the dial and buttons which is the source of all users' angst, and start embracing the use of GUI to provide better user experience. It would be like what the iPhone did to the cellular phone industry.
To someone in the trade, you are not making any actual point. We've been there in the golden days of electromechanical controllers that gave a decade or more of uninterrupted service. We've been there in the awkward early days of solid state controllers that had nothing but buttons to press, and tiny LED displays. To a certain degree, the rotary switch and the pushbuttons figure to be a long-term status quo, combining the most programming flexibility with the most ease of consumer use.

What would be informative to the consumer that "wants more" and thinks it can be easily obtained, would be to do what all computer programmers must do, and that is to create a flow chart of the controller programming and operation. Once you have a controller "do more" you have a controller with ever more opportunities to have internal conflicts that need resolving.

Unlike a computer, a controller must be crash-proof.

Try to understand that manufacturers have to make controllers that people will buy in large quantities. The number of people who need a controller cease to water as of November 15 are simply too few to ever care about. They are on their own.
I don't know what the professional point of view is, but as a consumer, I'd like a controller that is easy to use, I don't want dials and buttons. If Rainbird or Hunter don't make them, I'm sure someone will. In fact, like I mentioned, Irrigation Caddy seems to be stepping in the right direction and get with the 21st century technology. I'm very curious to know why the pros on this board is disliking it so much. Is it brand loyalty? Would you praise Rainbird if they made one similar to IC?

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,030

Location: Metro NYC

15

Thursday, November 22nd 2012, 5:19pm

Until you change "I want something different" into something exact, like your desire for a controller capable of shutting down watering on November 15th, you won't inspire anyone producing controllers to make anything different. There is not a single manufacturer who cares that you don't like the present state of the art. Lawns like today's controllers just fine.

Come up with a laundry list of "premium programming options" and you are very likely to find that a current controller model nearly gets you there. If something you want is really really worth having, it will find its way into upcoming models. Just know that you have to do way better than a November 15th shutdown.

What you aren't taking into account, is that the future of controllers isn't about any Graphical User Interface. It's about sensors to monitor weather and soil moisture, and in turn to control watering. Sensors will work just fine with today's controllers.

Another factor most of the Irrigation Caddy buyers don't take into account, is that any popular controller has to exist and be programmable without any internet connection or computer or smart phone. The reason for that is a home inspection requires an operable sprinkler system, with no computer or smart phone on the side, or you wind up losing the dollar value of that sprinkler system when you sell your house.

scercpio

Active Member

16

Saturday, November 24th 2012, 12:40am

What you aren't taking into account, is that the future of controllers isn't about any Graphical User Interface. It's about sensors to monitor weather and soil moisture, and in turn to control watering. Sensors will work just fine with today's controllers.

Another factor most of the Irrigation Caddy buyers don't take into account, is that any popular controller has to exist and be programmable without any internet connection or computer or smart phone. The reason for that is a home inspection requires an operable sprinkler system, with no computer or smart phone on the side, or you wind up losing the dollar value of that sprinkler system when you sell your house.
I've used a smart or ET controller before. I took it down because it was too difficult to work with (I'm an engineer). Despite the hype, I don't think they have a place in average home owner. There are a couple barriers that prevent it from being a common controller: ease of use, and cost. It is not easy to use, even with a GUI. I can't imagine using it with dials and buttons (that explains the 80-page manual). These controllers don't come cheap. It needs weather info, which you can collect it yourself (weather stations), which adds a lot more cost to the system, or you can use internet weather info, which isn't free, so you'll have to subscribe to a paid service. There are maintenance issues if you use your own weather station, and there are accuracy issue if you use the internet weather model. All in all, I think if I have a system that I can program it based on seasons, I'll save as much water as an ET controller does.

Actually, controller such as IC doesn't need the internet to run. You just need to use a browser to program it once, and it can run on its own. As for home sale, I don't think a $100-$200 sprinkler system is a deal breaker for a $200,000 transaction. Besides, if I was to buy a home that offers a dial and button controller versus a controller with better graphical interface, it would be a no brainer.

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,030

Location: Metro NYC

17

Saturday, November 24th 2012, 6:15am

On your best day, you will never ever sell any professional on the Irrigation Caddy. Pros have to walk up to a controller they've never seen before, and by using the instructions printed inside the controller cover, set up a watering program. No smart phone. No computer. No nothing but the instructions and those pushbuttons and switches.

And far as home inspections go, it is obvious that you've never taken a phone call from a worried seller about a problem that was going to affect the price received for the house they were selling. (and on what planet is a sprinkler system a $100 dollar item - $5000 is more like it)

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,450

Location: USA

18

Saturday, November 24th 2012, 8:57pm

I think the reason the contorllers of today aren't up to your standards is the fault of the Engineers who designed them.
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I looked at the controller in question. It looks cheaply made to me. Look how the wires connect to the controller. They don't look like they'll handle 10 gauge solid wire to me. The connections look cheap like on a mini Orbit controller. I bet they break.
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Also they only give you one option. You buy a 10 station controller or forget it. What if I only need a 4 station or a 12 station. I'm not sure this controller is ready for mass production.
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Look at all the updates they've had with the firmware. That means they've had many problems with it. I wonder what will go wrong next...

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,030

Location: Metro NYC

19

Sunday, November 25th 2012, 9:46am

So far, we have yet to hear of any desired programming option that could not be had with existing controllers, or one with a very few changes.

Conflicts are the chief problem with the more exotic controllers' programming. It would be the easiest thing in the world to have an unlimited-options controller have two or more zones trying to water at the same time. One of the reasons the ESP-SMT has such a long instruction manual, is that there must be explanations of how the controller resolves such possible conflicts.

scercpio

Active Member

20

Monday, November 26th 2012, 9:32pm

OK, search is over. I stumbled onto this:

http://www.bluespray.net

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Unlimited programs, unlimited start times. Configurable seasons means I can set different watering schedule for each season and off for the winter season.

mrfixit,

firmware/software upgrade isn't necessarily for problem fixing. They contain improvement as well. That means the controller is getting better.

Wet_Boots,

A full installation is $5000, but you can buy a minimal sprinkler controller for $100. If I were to sell my house, I don't mind buying a $100 controller if the buyer prefers, and I'll keep my IC or BlueSpray.

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